“Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that ‘during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.’” (Pew Research, survey conducted Feb. 4-9, 2019 among U.S. adults) In other words, seven-in-ten Catholics across our nation believe the bread and wine are only symbolic.
However shocking this survey result is, there is hope! Look at our 11th graders in Catholic schools within the Diocese of Grand Rapids. In 2020-21, juniors took the Assessment of Children and Youth Religious Education (ACRE) and were tasked with affirming or denying the statement, “I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.” 95.1% of all Catholic juniors affirmed this statement!
For some time now, a major concern for the bishops in the United States has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. When the U.S. Bishops (USCCB) gathered for their Fall General Assembly meeting in Baltimore in November they focused on the mystery of the Eucharist. The bishops formally approved a document on the reception of the Eucharist entitled, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” and approved an effort called the National Eucharistic Revival. As a part of the Revival the USCCB will produce handbooks, toolkits, digital resources, a CARA survey, small-group meetings, and a National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis emphasizing the truth about the body and blood of Jesus. The goal is “To renew the Church by enkindling a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.”
Everyday in our 31 Catholic schools across the Diocese of Grand Rapids, students are learning the truth about the Eucharist and they will be equipped to spread the Good News louder and further. Please pray for our schools, forming the future Catholic Church and building Christ’s kingdom on Earth.
Read ”The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” (PDF)
Watch a free 2-hour online course presented by Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, on the new document.